On Sunday 25th May we were again tidying and weeding the pond meadow. We were lucky with the weather and amazed how much the meadow had matured during the last couple of weeks. It was absolutely TEEMING with blue and red DAMSEL-FLIES, LADYBIRDS and FROGLETS. I’m afraid my limited photographic skills are a poor attempt at capturing the beauty of the damselflies and the froglets moved too fast ! However, I would like to share the photos and hope they provide some idea of what we discovered.
Apart from weeding (including reduction of nettles, docks, English plantain and goose grass) we also planted red campion, yellow loosestrife and feverfew.
Although plantain is an absolute pest in manicured garden lawns, it does have benefits for wildlife (if kept under control). The caterpillars of several moths feed on the foliage of Plantago spp. (plantains), especially tiger moths (Arctiidae).
The garden tiger moth is a stout, hairy moth. Its forewings are chocolatey-brown with cream patterns, whereas its hindwings are orangey-red with black spots. Its bright colours warn predators that it tastes unpleasant.
The garden tiger is a widespread species and can be found throughout the UK, however numbers have decreased in recent years.
Its brown and black, exceedingly hairy caterpillar is often called a ‘woolly bear’. The hairs are irritant and protect it from predators, such as birds – be warned in case you pick one up! Garden tigers overwinter as caterpillars.
The Adults drink nectar from flowers. Caterpillars eat low-growing, herbaceous plants. It can be seen from June to August.
Here are the photos and a video – apologies for poor quality (the “blurred blue lines” are the damselflies !).